By Antonio Ray Harvey, California Black Media
Assemblymember Kevin McCarty’s (D-Sacramento) Assembly Constitutional Amendment 6 (ACA 6) passed out of the California State Senate last week.
The bill, known as the Free the Vote Act, will seek voters’ approval in the 2020 November election to restore voting rights to former inmates who are free from incarceration but still on parole.
Currently, in California, a person’s right to vote is suspended when they are imprisoned or on parole for a felony conviction, although they can vote while on probation, county post-release community supervision and federal supervised release.
Only two states, Maine and Vermont, allow people to vote while still incarcerated.
ACA 6 passed out the Senate with a 28-9 vote.
It’s been a long road for ACA 6 since it first passed out of the California Assembly with bipartisan support back in August 2019. About 48,000 people on parole would become eligible to vote should Californians approve the amendment.
“ACA 6 passed on the Senate Floor. To get to this day was not easy, and there’s still work to be done,” McCarty said in a Twitter post following the Senate vote. “But I am thrilled that Californians will have an opportunity to weigh in this November, and use their voice to give voice to others.”
ACA 6 is sponsored by the California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and jointly authored by Assemblymembers Dr. Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), and Rob Bonta (D-Oakland).
Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) also co-authored ACA 6.
Assemblymembers Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), Mike Gipson (D-Carson), Kevin Mullin (D-San Mateo), Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay), Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles), and Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles) sponsored the bill.
Last year, Nevada and Colorado restored voting rights to approximately 87,000 people on parole.